The JCVI (Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation) has today recommended that a vaccine against group B meningococcus (MenB) should become part of the NHS’s routine immunisation schedule for children, as long as the Department of Health can negotiate a cost-effective price with the manufacturer. The vaccine will be given at 2, 4 and 12 months. See more information about the new MenB vaccine.
Group B meningococcus (meningitis B) is a serious cause of meningitis and septicaemia (blood poisoning) that affects 600-1000 children and adults per year in England. Around 10% die and many survivors suffer long-term problems, including amputations. Since the introduction of the MenC vaccine, MenB infection has become the commonest cause of bacterial meningitis in the UK. See more information about meningococcal disease.
Professor Andrew Pollard, chairman of the JCVI and Director of Oxford Vaccine Group said in the Department of Health press release: "MenB disproportionately affects babies and young children and can be devastating.
"After very careful consideration, JCVI concluded that use of the new vaccine would reduce cases of meningococcal meningitis and septicaemia and lead to a reduction in deaths, limb amputations and brain injury caused by the disease.
"Today the JCVI published its recommendation to the UK health departments that if the new vaccine can be purchased at a low price and is therefore cost effective for the NHS, it should be used in the routine immunisation programme for babies in the UK to prevent disease.
"Routine use of the MenB vaccine is expected to make an important contribution to the health of our population."
Read the full JCVI statement